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Running enterprise ecommerce platforms on Amazon Web Services

As a digital business, one of the essential platforms you are leveraging today is your ecommerce platform as a way to interact, engage and sell to your customers.  2nd Watch offers Amazon Web Services hosting for ecommerce platforms for large businesses that want a flexible, secure, highly scalable, global and low-cost solution for online sales and retailing.

The architecture and management of the configuration is vital because every second counts to your customers, especially during peak hours, days and seasonal traffic.  In today’s highly-connected world, forecasting demand can be difficult and often reaches new peaks through social awareness of deals or offers. Consumers are impatient, and their expectations for how fast they get information is increasing.  Any performance issues can affect your brand, conversions, sales and ultimately your top line performance.  In order for ecommerce platforms to be highly responsive and meet your customer demand, you must design-for-change so that you can meet your customers where they want and quickly.

Whether your enterprise is running BlueCherry with MS Dynamic AX or Magento, AWS offers the most powerful infrastructure that can scale globally to meet your customers’ demands. The essential part of running in the cloud is the architecture and engineering that will allow your business to scale efficiently to avoid unnecessary costs. With the proper configuration and management, your business can handle millions of catalog views and hundreds of thousands of orders easily to meet your top line objectives.

Enterprise essentials for running on AWS

  1. Security – At a high level, 2nd Watch has taken the following approach to secure the AWS infrastructure
    1. User access. Management of user access and data management is one of the most important aspects for a digital business.  Enterprises need to control secure access for users. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows enterprises to control access to AWS services and resources.  When an account is properly set-up and managed, users and groups have controls and permissions that allow or deny them access to any particular AWS resource.  The proper account structure and management are required to ensure security and governance.

Manage IAM users and their access – You can create users in IAM, assign them individual security credentials (in other words, access keys, passwords, and multi-factor authentication devices), or request temporary security credentials to provide users access to AWS services and resources. You can manage permissions in order to control which operations a user can perform.

Manage IAM roles and their permissions – You can create roles in IAM and manage permissions to control which operations can be performed by the entity, or AWS service, that assumes the role. You can also define which entity is allowed to assume the role.

Manage federated users and their permissions – You can enable identity federation to allow existing identities (e.g. users) in your enterprise to access the AWS Management Console, to call AWS APIs, and to access resources, without the need to create an IAM user for each identity.


  1. Data Privacy. Encrypting data in transit and at rest is extremely important in the public cloud.  AWS provides the essential platform enhancements to easily implement an end-to-end encryption solution. Many AWS services use SSL connections by default, and AWS enables users to securely and easily manage custom SSL certificates for their applications.  Data encryption for personal or business data at rest within AWS can be easily and transparently implemented using AWS- or user-supplied encryption keys.  AWS maintains platform certification compliance for many of the most important data protection and privacy certifications your business requires, and publishes backup and redundancy procedures for services so that customers can gain greater understanding of how their data flows throughout AWS.  For more information on the data privacy and backup procedures for each service in the AWS cloud, consult the Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes


    1. Reports, Certifications, and Independent Atations. AWS has, in the past, successfully completed multiple SAS70 Type II audits, and now publishes a Service Organization Controls 1 (SOC 1) report, published under both the SSAE 16 and the ISAE 3402 professional standards. In addition, AWS has achieved ISO 27001 certification, and has been successfully validated as a Level 1 service provider under the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). In the realm of public sector certifications, AWS has received authorization from the U.S. General Services Administration to operate at the FISMA Moderate level, and is also the platform for applications with Authorities to Operate (ATOs) under the Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Program (DIACAP). We will continue to obtain the appropriate security certifications and conduct audits to demonstrate the security of our infrastructure and services. For more information on risk and compliance activities in the AWS cloud, consult the Amazon Web Services: Risk and Compliance whitepaper.
    2. Physical Security. Amazon has many years of experience in designing, constructing, and operating large-scale data centers. AWS infrastructure is housed in Amazon-controlled data centers throughout the world. Only those within Amazon who have a legitimate business need to have such information know the actual location of these data centers, and the data centers themselves are secured with a variety of physical controls to prevent unauthorized access.
    3. Secure Services. Each of the services within the AWS cloud is architected to be secure and contains a number of capabilities that restrict unauthorized access or usage without sacrificing the flexibility that customers demand. For more information about the security capabilities of each service in the AWS cloud, consult the Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes whitepaper referenced above.
  1. Products (for product benefits, please visit our Digital Marketing Solutions page)
    1. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
    2. Auto Scaling
    3. Elastic Load Balancing
    4. Amazon CloudFront (CDN)
    5. Amazon Relational Database (RDS)
    6. Amazon Route 53
    7. Amazon ElastiCache
    8. Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)

Only proper configuration of enterprise ecommerce platforms and the management of user access, data management and infrastructure (IaaS) management will lead to a successful implementation in the public cloud. With the 2nd Watch solution you get the best practices for architecture, configuration, security, and performance.  This allows your platform to accommodate for daily, weekly, monthly or yearly cyclical performance requirements that are easily expanded globally.

We are an AWS Premier Partner with over 400 projects on AWS and highly recommend hosting your ecommerce platform on AWS, regardless of if it is BlueCherry with MS Dynamic AX, Magento or another solution.  Learn more about 2nd Watch Digital Marketing Solutions on Amazon Web Service Benefits.

Are you interested in a High Performance Solution for an ecommerce platform?

A digital business starts with automation. Learn the la at our blog, or download our Digital Business Whitepaper.

-Jeff Aden – EVP Marketing & Strategic Business Development


Digital Marketing in the Cloud

In previous posts, we’ve introduced the overall concept of the Digital Enterprise, characteristics of today’s digital businesses, key challenges that many companies face when adopting a cloud strategy and the steps that these organizations can take to help speed their transition to the public cloud.

Our recent white paper, “The Digital Enterprise: Transforming Business in the Cloud”, defines digital businesses as companies with 100% digital IT and business processes that, for the most part and as much as possible, are hosted in the public cloud.  Additional characteristics of a digital enterprise include:

  • The ability to easily scale computing resources and advanced features in order to meet demand.
  • Faster time-to-market when launching new services, websites and web applications in support of business initiatives and market changes.
  • The ability to innovate, , fail, and repeat at speeds that far exceed those of their competitors that still maintain traditional, workload management solutions.
  • Management of systems is unified in the public cloud via a single management interface, which eliminates the complexities of multiple management systems and delivers higher cross-application reliability.
  • Ease-of-interoperability due to open architecture that supports multiple software and hardware technologies.
  • The focus of the IT department becomes innovation rather than required maintenance.

Companies like Coca-Cola and Yamaha have already begun their transformation to becoming Digital Enterprises by migrating critical applications and workloads to the public cloud.  Core workloads and applications include short term, large scale batch computing and data analysis workloads, on-premises business applications (ERP systems, marketing, collaboration, sales, and accounting tools), application and development environments and applications which are built to be inherently “cloud” or “cloud native”.

As companies seek to streamline their core workloads and applications through digital migration, they quickly realize that central IT isn’t the only department that can benefit from the use of cloud technology. It’s no surprise that with today’s digital culture (and our need for instant gratification and expectations for wicked-fast responses, feedback and communication), marketing is a key sector that stands to benefit drastically from the capabilities of the cloud. Specifically, the drastic change in the ways in which enterprises can now reach and engage their audience and furthermore, scale globally to support thousands of websites and web apps as well as store, analyze and distribute mission-critical data, efficiently and securely.

I began my career as a high tech marketer more than a decade ago and have had the privilege of working for some of the biggest names in the industry. It all began at PeopleSoft as a Direct Response Campaign Manager, driving direct mail campaigns for the ERP powerhouse. Over the last fourteen years, my role as a marketer has transformed along with the methodologies that have emerged, changing the game as we know it.

It wasn’t much more than a decade ago that traditional “snail mail” was the norm for getting your business’ messaging into market and a standard campaign was a bit of a mathematical equation that resembled something like this:


The result? A sluggish response to market changes and data capture/analysis was manual (at best) and provided very little insight into campaign performance and ROI when compared to today’s digital marketing capabilities.  The good news, however, was that competition followed the same methodologies and invested in the traditional, tried and true mediums of marketing and advertising.

I still remember the day that I launched my first, purely digital, email campaign.  Within minutes we began seeing audience responses trickle in, and in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think, “Whoa! Game changer!” It wasn’t long before newer methods of digital marketing emerged and traditional direct mail became a dinosaur on the verge of extinction.

Today, investments in digital marketing are a key component to a digital enterprise’s competitive advantage. The convergence of technology and marketing has never before been so tightly coupled, thus having a profound impact on overall marketing strategies. In fact, a 2013 U.S. Digital Marketing Spending Survey by Gartner reports that two-thirds of marketers have a capital expenditure budget that they are using to acquire marketing software licenses and infrastructure.

Marketers are looking for an easier, lower cost way to get the capacity they need to develop digital marketing campaigns when and where they need it.

Delivering engaging experiences requires real time, high performing architectures that provide marketers the ability to measure and improve the performance of their websites or campaigns and tie them more closely to overall corporate goals. The insights garnered from the massive amounts of data collected can then be used to dynamically adjust creative execution or content for optimal performance.

The secret to success when shifting your digital marketing efforts to the public cloud is to enable digital operations that drive real-time action plans to better serve your customers. Additionally, it is important to recognize that digital marketing campaign management isn’t the only area where digital enterprises are reaping the benefits of the public cloud.

Over the next few weeks, we will explore how businesses like Adobe, DVF and Magento are benefiting from an increased flexibility and agility to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace and scale their marketing operations globally—at a much lower cost than traditional methods—by running the following digital marketing efforts in the public cloud:

  • Websites & Web Applications
  • eCommerce
  • Dev & Test Environments
  • Content Delivery

In today’s world, consumer habits change fast and marketing decisions need to be made within seconds, not days.  Shifting your marketing operations to the public cloud enables you to deliver marketing content and campaigns with the levels of availability, performance, and personalization that your customers expect while lowering your costs and driving preferred business outcomes.

-Katie Ellis